Saturday, 15 September 2012

Dive 7 – St John’s Gota Sogayar


Food on board is very important – divers need nothing complicated, just good, tasty, easily digestible, fresh food after every dive. Not really much of a challenge then to a chef on a small boat miles out to sea with no chance of re-provisioning once it has left port for the week. A typical day’s menu is:

wake-up: tea, coffee, water, juice., biscuits

breakfast (after the first dive): often freshly cooked omelette (vegetarian and non vegetarian), toast, yogurt, cheeses (at least three sorts), fruit, fruit salad, pancakes

lunch (after the second dive): grilled fish, potatoes, rice, mixed bean salad, humus, stuffed aubergines, chicken, tomatoes, beans on artichokes (for the vegetarians), grapes

tea (after the third dive): pastries, biscuits, fruit, sometimes fresh sponge cake

 Food 1 Food 2 Food 3 Food 4

dinner (after the fourth dive): Chicken, shepherds pie with cheese, cheese somosa, salad, lentils, baklava

Self-service tea, coffee, water, canned soft drinks and fruit juice are available all day and whilst you can buy beer, as soon as you have one then you have had your last dive of the day.

It is surprising how enterprising and clever the cooks are and how attractively the dishes are presented. It is not Haute Cuisine but it is very acceptable and you are not going to loose weight.

All meals are eaten in the main lounge the other end of which (on the Grand Sea Serpent) also doubles up

Food 5

as the dive briefing area and the inside air conditioned relaxation area.

On the final full diving day (for us the Tuesday of the week),

The Turkey

the chef produces a Turkey and all of the Egyptian version of “trimmings” which on the GSS comprised:

Beetroot, apples and melon Carrots and Rice
Beetroot, apple and melon Carrots and Rice
Lentils Pasta with peas etc
Lentils Pasta and Peas
Red Cabbage and tomtoes and cucumber Rice
Red Cabbage, tomatoes and cucumber Rice and Sultanas
Unknown veg Beans and Peppers
A vegetable of unknown character Beans and peppers

Stuffed half courgettes

Stuffed courgettes  

and just in case you were not full, there were Five fattening dersts inc a big sponge cake

five different fattening desserts.

Food 1

When the boat is being loaded with its provisions in Port, one gets a feel for how much food and drink 24 divers and 11 crew get through in a week. 500 eggs

Food 4 

70 towels

Food 2

480 cans of beer

Food 3

over 1000 cans of soft drink…… plus all of the usual food items. Every possible storage space on the boat is used including under every seat in the main cabin.

St John’s Gota Sogayar

st jhons reef system

The St John’s reef system is made up of numerous reefs, usually with more than one dive site and always with more than one name.

gotta sogayar 

This is an almost sheer pinnacle rising close to the surface with caves and swim throughs on top of all of the attractions of a sheer reef face.

The plan is to circle much of the reef and explore the caves and swim throughs.

Vertical wall to depth

the top of the reef is covered with coral


and further down there is a lot of soft coral

Anenome Close Up   

Ascending through cave Ascending through cave-1

Divers heading for the cave

This view looks back out of the cave entrance to other divers lining up to come in.

Cave Roof Hole

Many of the caves have holes in their roofs

Through cave to surface

and the view through some of the cave windows is simply superb as are the swim through images.

Another Cave

The angle of the sun is ideal for diving and makes some superb blue pictures

Fern growing from wall

Past the blue

Coral profusion on the wall is a characteristic of the site

Corals growing on wall


and there are unusual hard and soft corals everywhere

Coral-1 Coral Crop

Around the top of the coral blocks are shoals of antheas

Coral surrounded by antheas 

Antheas above coral

and mirror fish

Glass Fish

amongst the larger fish are

Friendly Banner Fish   

banner fish


Marble headed grouper

Lion Fish

one of the few lion fish we see this trip

Moray Eel

and the ubiquitous Moray Eel


Dive guides tend to enjoy small life more than large life and there is (to their great delight), a number of nudibranchs growing


on the coral and cave walls.

All in all, a lovely dive site.

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